Blog posts by year and month February 2012

Posts (78)

  1. Today Rivers Trusts in North East Wales are holding a conference on the Management of Invasive Weeds in the River Dee catchment at Beaufort Park near Mold. The Trusts are co-operating on a major programme to eradicate invasive weeds from three rivers catchments, the Dee, the Clwyd and the Con...

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  2. Last week we were shivering with cold easterly winds from Russia but this week it's a different story. High pressure over the Atlantic means north-westerly winds for the UK so it's going to be milder than recently with temperatures staying above freezing. High pressure over the Atlantic ...

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  3. Carol Ann Duffy and the Welsh poet and translator Elin ap Hywel are to judge the entries submitted to a bilingual poetry completion on the theme of climate change. The contest is being organised by the energy charity Awel Aman Tawe, the body behind the development of a community wind farm on Mynydd y Gwrhyd in the upper Swansea Valley. The wind farm project has been many years in the offing but the charity says there are just a few more planning hoops to jump through before it is able to start generating green energy. The original mission statement of the development was that all profits from the sale of wind energy would be transferred back into the community and would help fund environmental ventures. The charity has an active arts arm which regularly hosts events to get local people thinking about greater environmental issues. This is the second annual poetry competition it has hosted. Last year the competition was judged by National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and the award-winning Welsh language poet Menna Elfyn. It attracted 350 entries from adults and children and Awel Aman Tawe published a book of the best entries called Heno, Wrth Gysgu and launched it at the prize giving night at Pontardawe Arts Centre. Organiser Emily Hinshelwood said: "I talk with people all the time about climate change and there's a terrible feeling of powerlessness in the face of ever worsening scenarios for the earth. "Whether it's the diminishing sparrow populations in their own gardens, or the flooding of entire islands, most people have a personal response to the subject. "We want them to capture that feeling in poetry. "The place where poetry happens," she says, reflecting on her own poetry, "is that creative place within us - the same place where we improvise, and play. "And sometimes unexpectedly we come across solutions to problems that have been bugging us for years." AAT manager, Dan McCallum, said: "It's only by involving people that we can build something sustainable." Duffy was asked to be a judge because of her own interest in the subject of climate change. Her poem "Atlas" examines the fragility of the planet and the theme is one she has been returning to with frequency in recent poems. Adults and children are welcome to contribute to the competition, which has a closing date of 31 March 2012. Carol Ann Duffy will judge the English entries while Elin ap Hywel will judge the Welsh entries. First prize for adults is £500, £100 for second place and £50 for third place. For children the first prize is £50; second is £30; while third is £20. Entry fees do apply. Visit awelamantawe.co.uk for more details.

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  4. Perhaps not many people - certainly not those outside the country - are fully aware of the fact but Monday 13 February 2012 marks an important moment in the history of Wales and the Welsh language. Saunders Lewis It was exactly 50 years ago this year, on 13 February 1962, that the wr...

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  5. Today we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the first album by Manic Street Preachers, Generation Terrorists. Radio Wales have joined the festivities. Listen to Simon Price and me talk to Jamie and Louise on the station this morning: And listen to Oli and Bethan of Good...

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  6. The latest residents to join the Blaeneinion Conservation Project at Artist's Valley near Machynlleth are settling in well to their new Welsh surroundings. The pair of beavers (sisters) were released into their fenced enclosure last November and are being monitored as part of a programme to evaluate possible future releases into the wild. An American beaver on a grassy shoreline. The idea was met with some concern initially - the farming unions argued that beavers became extinct in this country hundreds of years ago, owing to the fact that they caused widespread destruction of wildlife habitats. They pointed to a similar project in Scotland, where beavers managed to escape from their enclosure and were extremely difficult to recapture. But at Blaeneinion they have a different view. They're hoping to prove that beavers are a valuable native species that are particularly adept at preserving aquatic habitats. I've been to Blaeneinion this week to see the project for myself. I met with the project manager, Sharon Girardi who is a woman with a mission. Blaeneinion Conservation Project at Artist's Valley near Machynlleth She moved to Artists Valley three years ago from the centre of London, with a vision to create a community based on the principles of permaculture - living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for future generations to come, in harmony with nature. They've already planted some eight thousand trees on the 75 acre site, with the help of a small army of 'WWOOFers' (I didn't know what these were either!). World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or WWOOF is a membership charity, teaching people about organic growing and low-impact lifestyles through hands-on experience in the UK. People work on the farms in exchange for board and lodgings. At the moment there are two WWOOFers from France and Australia helping with the planting programme, giving Blaeniniona a distinctly international feel. A geodesic dome provides winter vegetables, a fruit orchard has already been planted, a bunkhouse offers accommodation for visitors and four other families have also moved in as tenants. But it's the beavers that are proving to be the main attraction. A feeding station has been built inside the enclosure with plans for two hides in future, where visitors will be able to watch the beavers. Beavers lodges are created from severed branches and mud. The beavers cover their lodges late every autumn with fresh mud, which freezes when the frost sets in. What I didn't realise before my visit is that beavers are nocturnal. But then as Sharon pointed out, "Why would you know that? They've been extinct for around 400 years!" At dusk, we crept into the enclosure and spiked apples onto canes at the feeding station, hoping to lure the sisters out of their lodge. Originally, before they moved in, great pains were taken to build the beavers a lodge, taking advice from experts and constructing what they thought would be ideal beaver bunkhouse. But the sisters had other ideas and set about building their own lodge immediately after their release, preferring to show the humans how it's done! As daylight faded, we took up our positions in the freezing cold, armed with an infra-red camera. We didn't have to wait long before we heard rustling sounds in the reeds surrounding the lake. It was really exciting as we could tell they were close and could hear them swimming towards us. At that point, the clouds parted revealing a full moon above us. In the moonlight I spotted a head in the water, with the trail across the lake as the beaver headed for the bank. We didn't actually see them out of the water and eventually the cold got too much for us, so we headed indoors. Then again, after being hunted to extinction, you can't blame the beavers for not being in too much of a hurry to get reacquainted with humans. BBC News: Beavers return to Ceredigion

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  7. I know I've said it a few times, but it is so cold! I can't decide what to wear to work at all - I'm freezing outside and I'm too warm in the studio. I feel like I'm wearing all of my clothes at once. In addition to this, I'm finding it really difficult to warm up in the mornings. As a child,...

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  8. The gritters in Wales are gearing up for a busy time. There's no snow at the moment but some is expected by morning and we're in for a wintry mix of weather over the next 24 hours with rain, snow and some freezing rain too. Freezing rain is where rain falls onto frozen ground, turning roads a...

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  9. I was 20 and living a dissolute student life in Liverpool when Manic Street Preachers' Generation Terrorists came out 20 years ago. My housemate - a bath-phobic fellow North Walean - and I queued outside HMV in Liverpool that morning, eager for it to open. No one else was queuing. Despite the...

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  10. This week's show is now available via the iPlayer. Please visit the link any time between now and the start of the next programme. This 'message' was dutifully typed out at 2:37am on Sunday morning - but it has taken me five days to realise that it got led astray somewhere along the labyrinthine passages of the internet, and didn't get sent or delivered. "What are you up to now?" "I'm just off to spam I mean, inform, a few hundred folk about Adam Walton's new music show." "Fancy a pint instead?" "Aye, why not. Just let me find a grid I can tip all of these down..." This is irritating news because, presenter notwithstanding, this is quite a show. We have all of the new tracks from Y Niwl's live set at Crackling Vinyl last week. And it's very good indeed. Actually, It's better than that but I'm trying to hold back on the hyperbole: a Lent for my lexicon, if you like. We have new Future Of The Left. A first play of one of the tracks from their forthcoming album The Plot Against Common Sense (released on 28 May - mark it in your digital filofaxes, now). The song is called City Of Exploded Children and iTunes is helpfully telling me that it's my most listened to track of 2012. A rare demonstration of good taste. At some point on Saturday morning I stumbled across a tweet from @KaptinIsDead, head honcho of the excellent Chrome Kids music blog. His Tweet pointed me in the direction of a brand new, summer-infused, bass-enhanced mixtape from Cardiff's Mr Healan. It's called Hot Wheels & Sun Shades Vol 1. It's 47 minutes long. When I was shivering through a light hangover in my box bedroom (that I laughably call an office) on Saturday morning, it sounded like manna from heaven. Some brilliant fat synths rivetted together by skippy beats that'd make Snowdon cut the rug. We have the whole thing for you. Elsewhere Alan Holmes highlights the hitherto under celebrated links between North Wales and the Sisters Of Mercy by playing some James Ray & The Performance. Ben Hayes treats us to something whimsical and almost scholarly from Jake Thackary. And there is music. Oodles of it, including debut plays for the brilliant Serein record label and Christiaan Webb. Please send new releases/demos/gig info/correspondence to themysterytour@gmail.com. Download links and/or mp3s preferred, please. Many thanks / diolch o galon, Adam Walton. HAUSCHKA - 'So Far' Cardiff Label CHRISTIAAN WEBB - 'Kids In Love' Cardiff Label JOSHUA CAOLE - 'Pleased To Have You' Cardiff Y NIWL - 'Un Deg Saith' Gwynedd SEX HANDS - 'Parker' Dwygfylchi / Llanfairfechan / Conwy DRMCNT - 'Bdm' Llansteffan / Japan JEMMA ROPER - 'Our Powers Are Matched' Cardiff EUGENE FRANCIS JNR - 'L. O. V. 3. R. S. ( Efj Cough Radio Edit )' Cardiff FUTURE OF THE LEFT - 'City Of Exploded Children' Cardiff ALAN HOLMES - 'Spoken Contribution' Bangor JAMES RAY & THE PERFORMANCE - 'Edie Sedgwick' ? COLORLIST - 'Light Conditions' Cardiff Label COLORLIST - 'Nine Lives' Cardiff Label HARRY KEYWORTH - 'Flux' Hebron, Pembrokeshire EFA SUPERTRAMP - 'Do Anything For Money' Pwllheli CHRISTINE COOPER - 'Y Fwynlan O Serch' Brighton Y NIWL - 'Dauddegtri ( Live )' Gwynedd Y NIWL - 'Undegnaw ( Live )' Gwynedd Y NIWL - 'Dauddegdau ( Live )' Gwynedd Y NIWL - 'Dauddegun ( Live )' Gwynedd Y NIWL - 'Chwech ( Live )' Gwynedd SEX HANDS - 'Sad Eyed Lady ( The Clean Cover )' Dwygfylchi / Llanfairfechan / Conwy SOPHIE BALLAMY - 'The Story Of Charlie And The Two Fat Ladies' Llangollen MR HEALAN - 'Make Up Girl' Cardiff DON LEISURE - 'Venice Beach' Cardiff Label NAPOLIAN - 'Olympia' Cardiff Label COM TRUISE - 'Broken Date' Cardiff Label BOBBY TANK - 'Zaxxon' Cardiff Label SALVA FEAT B. BRAVO - 'Obsession' Cardiff Label TEHBIS - 'Trouble Man' Cardiff Label METABEATS - 'Bootsfansworth' Cardiff MR HEALAN - 'Playin With Her' Cardiff DON LEISURE - 'Do It' Cardiff Label DAM - FUNK - 'I Don't Run With No Cliques' Cardiff Label MR HEALAN - 'Grand Tourer' Cardiff GREEEN LINEZ - 'Sallot Ski' Cardiff Label MR HEALAN - 'Loungin'' Cardiff STYLE - 'Play Boy En Detresse' Cardiff Label NAPOLIAN - 'Hoobangin '96 ( Blue Wrangler Sport )' Cardiff Label MR HEALAN - 'High Score' Cardiff HYSTERICAL INJURY - 'Halo Alkanes' Bath / Llandeilo SUE DENIM - 'For J T & Emli' Bangor BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution' Ruthin JAKE THACKRAY - 'The Hole' Leeds FALCON LAKE - 'Moving On' Newport / Cardiff

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